Ronald M. Varnum

Of Counsel
Tel 215.864.8416
Fax 215.864.8999

Ronald M. Varnum assists clients in a variety of environmental litigation matters and provides counsel on regulatory and transactional matters. He has represented clients in litigation concerning the adoption of regulations under the Clean Air Act, cleanup and responsibility for contaminated sites and waterbodies, permit appeals, enforcement matters, and wastewater management. Ron also advises clients on permitting and regulatory matters, including the National Environmental Policy Act, air and water pollution, wetlands, storm water management, waste management, and remediation of contaminated sites. He has advised clients on environmental aspects of the development of energy projects.

Representative Matters

  • Represented energy companies in litigation over rules promulgated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the Clean Air Act
  • Assisted a client in preparation of comments on proposed rulemakings under the Clean Air Act
  • Advised clients on federal and state permitting requirements for proposed construction and development projects, including storm water management, wetlands, endangered species, and National Environmental Policy Act issues
  • Represented a client in enforcement proceedings under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act
  • Represented a quasi-governmental agency in opposing a petition for writ of certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court challenging compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act in a public housing and community revitalization project
  • Represented a landowner in a citizen suit against a mushroom waste operation under the Clean Water Act and Pennsylvania Clean Streams Law
  • Counseled clients with regard to purchase and investment in property with environmental contamination


Co-author, "U.S. Supreme Court Stays Clean Power Plan," Ballard Spahr alert, February 10, 2016

Co-author, "Pennsylvania Methane Control Strategy May Go Beyond Federal Requirements," Ballard Spahr alert, January 20, 2016

Co-author, "State Implementation of the Clean Power Plan: Why It Matters to Industries Outside the Power Sector," Environmental Law Reporter, November 2015

Co-author, "Clean Power Plan Published; Appeals Period Begins," Ballard Spahr alert, October 23, 2015

Co-author, "Climate Change and the Chesapeake Bay," Bar Bulletin, September 21, 2015

Co-author, "States’ Decisions on Compliance with Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan Could Significantly Impact Industries Outside the Electric Utility Sector," Ballard Spahr alert, August 19, 2015

Co-author, "President Obama, EPA Announce Final Clean Power Plan to Regulate Power Plant Emissions Connected to Climate Change," Ballard Spahr alert, August 3, 2015

Co-author, "Supreme Court: EPA Must Consider Costs in Power Plant Rule," Ballard Spahr alert, June 29, 2015

Co-author, "Primer on Air Pollution Control Issues, Including Permitting and Climate Change," chapter in Guidebook on Pennsylvania Environmental Laws and Regulations, 7th edition, published by Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, 2014

Co-author, "EPA Publishes Proposed Greenhouse Gas Standards for New Power Plants," Ballard Spahr Environment and Natural Resources alert, January 9, 2014

Co-author, "New Jersey Takes Emergency Action To Speed Rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy," Ballard Spahr Environment and Natural Resources alert, May 6, 2013

Co-author, "The Future of Oil, Gas Drilling in the Delaware River Basin," BNA's Daily Report for Executives, January 23, 2012

Speaking Engagements

"Greenhouse Gas Emissions Update—The Impact on All Industries," 2015 Core Energy and Environmental Conference Series, Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, October 29, 2015

"Bringing Our Carbon Footprint Down to Size: What EPA's Final Clean Power Plan Means to Pennsylvania", Pennsylvania Bar Institute webinar, October 8, 2015

"Legal Framework of Notice and Comment Process," Association of Corporate Counsel, DELVACCA Chapter, seminar on "Strategic Considerations in the Regulatory Comment Process," September 2011

Board Memberships

Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, past member, Board of Trustees

Colgate University, past member, Board of Trustees

Harvard Law School (J.D. 2005, cum laude)
Board of Student Advisors

Colgate University (B.A. 2000, summa cum laude)

New Jersey


U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin

U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey 

U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit